The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fletcher comes hard at Boycott

London: England coach Duncan Fletcher feels criticism of his management style by Geoffrey Boycott was a “combination of the curious and unfair”.

The former Test opener had accused Fletcher of “destroying” County cricket.

Clearly stung, Fletcher — whose position has come under increasing scrutiny in recent times — took the unusual step of writing a column in Daily Telegraph — where Boycott berated the former Zimbabwe captain on Monday.

Boycott said that Fletcher, by taking James Anderson out of County cricket was denying the 21-year-old Lancashire quick the chance to bowl himself into form in the way England fast bowlers of his era did.

But Fletcher said Anderson had “played non-stop County cricket up to the first Test against Zimbabwe”.

He added: “With the volume of cricket coming up, he needed time to rest and recuperate.”

He also tackled Boycott’s assertions that he had “brainwashed” former captain Nasser Hussain and was himself an “invisible coach”.

“Hussain is a strong-minded individual and perfectly capable of making his own mind up in cricketing matters. In fact, I think Nasser brainwashes me at times!

“Boycott also criticised my management style, suggesting that I am not ‘fronting up’ or being ‘seen to help’.

“I do not seek to be high-profile, whether we win or lose, but prefer an active, thoughtful and level-headed behind-the-scenes management role.”

Boycott was dismissive of England’s decision to employ Australian Troy Cooley, who had an undistinguished first-class career with Tasmania, as a bowling coach and said that when it came to the batting the team should consult him or fellow England great Graham Gooch.

“Great players don’t necessarily make great coaches,” Fletcher said. “I never saw Cooley bowl, but I know he is a fine bowling coach and he came highly recommended by Rod Marsh who has played a lot of Test cricket.

“As for a batting coach, I like to think I have made an impact here,” Fletcher, formerly in charge at English County Glamorgan and South Africa’s Western Province, added.

“Players have certainly improved their success rate against the world’s best spinners,” said Fletcher, a claim backed up by both Hussain And Alec Stewart, two players who have always acknowledged the help.

England — who have won just two of their last eight Test series under Fletcher — are currently 0-1 down in their five Test campaign against South Africa.

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